We know dogs make vocalizations, usually in the form of barks, whines, or even growls. This is expected dog behavior. However, some dogs make noises that are quite undoglike. If your dog makes pig noises, you are probably scratching your head and wondering why. 

It can downright adorable, or it can sound alarming. or even hilarious. You may worry that it means there’s something wrong with your dog. Should you be concerned? 

Why does my dog make pig noises?

The good news is that your dog isn’t the subject of a bizarre DNA experiment. They are not part pig. Instead, it’s likely related to their airway or reverse sneezing. 

Shorter Airway

Some dog breeds are known as bracycephalic. These breeds have a short nose and a flat face. They often look like their nose has been pushed in. Brachycephalic breeds include Pugs, Chow Chows, and English Bulldogs, and Bull Mastiffs.

Some smaller breeds are also more prone to oinking. These include Beagles and Yorkies. 

Brachycephalic breeds have a shorter nose and airways. This causes them to make noises, including snoring and oinking. 

Throat Irritation

Your dog may make pig noises simply because their throat is irritated. Humans often cough or clear their throat. When your dog does this, it can sound like an oink. 

Reverse Sneeze

It sounds strange, but it’s a natural dog phenomenon. It occurs when the soft palate gets irritated. When the soft palate is irritated, the trachea narrows. This means the dog can’t breathe very well. To get a good breath, they breathe through their nose instead of their mouth. 

Because sneezing is a result of air coming out through the nose, breathing in through the nose is known as a reverse sneeze. It can occur in any dog, but certain breeds reverse sneeze more frequently. It’s not only limited to dogs, cats can do it too. 

It usually happens because something has gotten in the nose or sinus passages. Grass and dirt are the most common culprits. Inside, dust can cause reverse sneezing. Allergies and nasal mites can cause frequent reverse sneezing. 

Collar

If the collar is tight, this can affect the trachea. Imagine a hand around your throat. A tight grip will restrict your ability to breathe, because it narrows the trachea. If it gets even tighter, it can block the flow of air completely. 

If your dog’s collar is too tight, this can narrow the trachea. This makes it impossible to get a full breath, which can cause your dog to make wheezing or pig noises. 

It can also occur if your dog is pulling at their collar. You take your dog for a walk. They see another dog, and pull the leash trying to get to the other dog. You pull them away, but notice that they are making pig noises. This is because the collar was restricting airflow. 

Collapsed Trachea

A collapsed trachea is relatively rare, but it can be fatal if not treated. It’s a progressive condition, which means it gets worse over time. 

The trachea is the airway. It allows air to flow from the mouth and down into the lungs. It’s often referred to as the windpipe for obvious reasons. It is made up of muscle and rings of cartilage. 

If one or more of these rings collapse, it’s known as a collapsed trachea. It blocks the airway, which makes it difficult for your dog to breathe. A collapsed trachea can be either partial or complete. 

Symptoms of a collapsed trachea include frequent or constant pig sounds. They may also have a loud cough, which can sound like a honk. You may also notice lifestyle changes. If a dog can’t get enough air, they will lose interest in exercise and other strenuous activities. They may also have labored breathing, even when they are at rest. 

Obesity

Obesity puts a dog at a higher risk of a collapsed trachea. The extra weight puts more pressure on the trachea, which can cause it to collapse.

It also increases the risk of Laryngeal paralysis. This makes it difficult to breathe deeply. This leads to anxiety. The anxiety causes the dog to breathe faster, which further complicates the problem. This restricted breathing can cause the dog to make pig noises. 

Infection 

A sinus or respiratory infection can also cause your dog to make pig noises. A sinus infection can cause pig noises because it’s difficult to bring in air through the nose. It can also cause frequent reverse sneezing, because your dog is attempting to clear their sinus cavity. A respiratory infection can cause wheezing or pig noises, similar to a narrow or collapsed trachea. 

Home Treatment

If your dog seems uncomfortable while making pig noises, there are a few things you can do. Reverse sneezing is the most common cause of pig noises in dogs. 

One way to help is to massage their throat gently. Do not attempt to put your hand in their mouth. This can lead to a bite or increase your dog’s anxiety, and it won’t help. 

If massaging doesn’t solve the issue, plug their nostrils for a few seconds. This may seem cruel, but it will cause your dog to swallow, which may stop the reverse sneeze. It causes them no harm, but they may find it irritating. 

Lastly, you can gently blow on their face. They are guaranteed not to like it, but it can help stop the reverse sneeze. 

If the pig noises are caused by the collar, get your dog a harness instead. This will stop the pressure on their trachea. If you suspect allergies are the cause, avoid the allergen if you can. If it’s unavoidable, your pooch may need allergy medication. 

When to Worry About Pig Noises

Occasional pig noises are rarely a sign of a medical issue. If your dog only makes the noises occasionally or in certain situations, they are probably fine. 

If the pig noises are frequent, it’s best to get a veterinary checkup. Brachycephalic breeds may make pig noises regularly without an underlying health issue.

However, it’s wise to be on the safe side. Consult with your vet to be sure. Brachycephalic breeds are also at a higher risk of a collapsed trachea. Lifestyle changes and medications can help keep a collapsed trachea from getting worse, so don’t hesitate to seek care. 

If your dog seems to be in distress or has difficulty breathing, this requires immediate veterinary care. Lack of oxygen can cause serious health effects, including brain and organ damage. 

Why does my dog make pig noises when playing?

Have you noticed your dog tends to make pig noises when playing? There are a few potential causes of this seemingly peculiar behavior. The good news is if your dog is only making pig noises when playing, you likely have nothing to worry about. Any concerning medical cause will cause them to make pig noises more often. 

Reverse Sneeze 

Reverse sneezing is common when playing. Your dog’s nose is close to it’s mouth, which is often used to grip or grab objects during play. If your dog picks a toy up off the ground or the toy tickles their nose, this can lead to a reverse sneeze. 

Excitement

Some dogs make pig noises when they are excited. This may be their way of expressing joy or contentment, similar to a cat’s purring. Playing and excitement both lead to faster breathing, which makes pig noises more likely. 

Why does my dog make pig noises when I pet him?

You are petting your dog, and they suddenly start making pig noises. You may find it amusing, but a little curious or concerning as well. If your dog only makes pig noises occasionally, it’s nothing to worry about. Instead, it might be their way of expressing happiness. 

Contentment

Your dog is likely making pig noises as a sign of contentment. Think of it as their version of a contented sigh. If your dog is a Brachycephalic breed, this will be more common. 

Position

We’ll take a closer look at position in relation to sleeping, but it bears mentioning here as well. If your dog tends to get into awkward positions when you pet them, this can cause pig noises. 

It’s particularly common if your dog rolls onto their back and tilts their head. Let them enjoy the belly scratches and make their pig noises. 

Why does my dog make pig noises when excited?

Does your dog seem to turn into a pig anytime they are excited? Perhaps it occurs when you praise them or take them for a walk. Maybe it happens when they see a doggie friend. It’s normal for dogs to make pig noises when excited. 

Heavier and Faster Breathing

Essentially, your dog makes pig noises when they are excited because they are taking in more air. This can lead to reverse sneezing. It can also be the heavy breathing itself causing them to make the noise. 

Sniffing

If your dog is excited by something in their environment, they will inspect it with their nose. It’s one of the primary ways your dog interacts with the world. When sniffing, your dog brings more air in through the nose. This can cause reverse sneezing and pig noises. 

Why does my dog make pig noises when sleeping?

Have you noticed your dog tends to make pig noises when sleeping? They could be snoring!

Positioning

Have you ever elbowed a significant other in bed because they were snoring? If you managed to get them to change positions, the snoring likely stopped. You then went back to sleep. Dogs can make oinking noises for a similar reason. 

Different positions affect the airflow through the airway. This can also occur when the dog is awake. They seem to have a talent for finding themselves in some very strange and uncomfortable positions, but it’s more common when they are asleep. 

Shorter Airway

Brachycephalic breeds and smaller breeds with a shorter airway are more likely to make pig noises in their sleep. Breathing patterns vary based on the stage of sleep, just as it does for humans. Your dog may make pig noises in certain stages of sleep, because they are breathing deeper. It’s usually nothing to worry about, but if it’s a common occurrence, you should check with your vet. 

Dreaming

Dogs dream just like us. You may have watched your dog whine or kick their legs in their sleep and wondered if they were dreaming. Chances are, they were. 

When your dog dreams, they may make noises in their sleep. They can bark, whine, and even growl. They can also make pig noises, particularly if they tend to make the noises when they are excited or content. 

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.